Earlier this month, I spent 5 days in Las Vegas at the WPPI (Wedding and Professional Photographers International) Annual Event. While there, I got the chance to attend a mini-workshop put on by photographers Jory Cordy and Fred Egan as well as Lara Casey of Southern Weddings Magazine. I’ve admired Fred and Jory as artist for a while, and now have an all new level of respect for them as individuals. And Lara…she was just fantastic! So inspiring and motivating! The three of them challenged me in ways I desperately needed and provided fresh perspective on the wedding photography industry. I am so thankful I was able to attend! As comedy would have it, I arrived in Las Vegas to find my friends Matt and Stevi Savage of Avery House Creative were asked to be the models for the second part of the workshop. At first I found it a bit ironic that I would travel all the way to Vegas to attend a workshop and end up photographing my best friends from back home. Then I began to realize the real irony actually lay more in the fact that I probably wouldn’t even be at WPPI, shooting these models, had I not known them. When I met Matt and Stevi a few years ago, I wasn’t pursuing a career in photography. I loved it, for sure. I had for years. In fact, I had contemplated pursuing a career in photography probably more than I thought about any other path in life. But I had always come up with excuses why I couldn’t or shouldn’t do so. Now that I’m here…finally pursuing my dreams, I can look back and see so clearly that is was fear and insecurities that were holding me back. It didn’t happen overnight, but I can now confidently say I truly believe I am where I’m supposed to be, at least for now, anyway. Matt and Stevi were a huge part of helping me to arrive at this place. Since the moment I met them they have inspired me! If you’ve seen their work, you’ll understand why! Studying their images reignited my love for photography! When I told them I wanted to pursue photography full-time, they could not have been more supportive. They listened to me, answered my endless questions (still do, in fact), took me on shoots with them, spent time teaching me, and just plain encouraged me. If there is one thing I have learned of late, it is just how important it is in this industry…in any aspect of life, for that matter…to surround ourselves with people that believe in, encourage and support us. And people for which we can return the favor and provide the support system they need to succeed. There are so many amazing people in the wedding and portrait photography world that I have come to know not only as colleagues but dear friends! Not to mention those outside of the realm of photography…my family and friends who love and encourage me! I feel blessed beyond words to have that in my life!